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The Great Coffee Shortage: The Gadgetier’s Invitation

The calming waves of the Vernian Sea splashed against the port sending a salty spray towards Beryl, cutting the heat of the day.  The sunset shifted the smog to a brilliant red as the streetlights flared to life.  She stood there long after the spectacle ended, enjoying the sound of the waves, and the freshest air in the city.

“Hello, cat.” The speaker had been standing behind her unnoticed.  Beryl turned around without any hurry or alarm to greet them.  It was the pirate who had escaped custody the other day. The young woman leaned casually against the crates lining the quayside.  She had red hair and appeared to make her own machinery.

A pirate and a gadget maker?  A Gadgetier?  She thought to herself distractedly.

Beryl did not unsheathe her claws, the thought never even occurred to her. “I was hoping I’d see you today.  I wanted to ask why…why capture me?”  That explosion had knocked many of them prone, Beryl had shielded Neille from the glass though that meant she was blown back into her.

Pan arched a single eyebrow slowly.  Her own fur and armor looked dis-shelved, but otherwise seemed fine to Beryl.  “You were the only one of those dolts to see what I am.”

“I know a mechanic when I see one now,” Beryl replied simply.  The way the woman moved, avoided mechanical traps, even their violent dispositions.  She had the same mannerisms as Azura Kitty.

She saw Ming, one of the people who had joined the assassin hunting team.  That team had determined the panda was the ring leader of the local pirates.  She thought Ming would attack, but she seemed to be walking the other way and had not noticed them.

“They really want you captured.  Sent some place hope goes to die.”  Beryl turned away and looked back at the ocean, her back exposed to the enemy pirate.  Something inside was tugging at her now. That her experiences with Azura showed her how to deal with the type of threat the woman displayed.  Aloud, she said, “I probably should have told them how to deal with you. I forgot though.”

The Gadgetier moved slightly at that comment, and Beryl turned back to watch her.  “Be interested to hear that story,” Pan said, her voice quiet and soft.

“Yeah,”  Beryl responded calmly.  She still felt unthreatened.  “They want to hurt you.  Were considering torture when I found you.  Why are you still here?”

The woman did not respond to the question initially.  She inclined her head, spreading her hands wide. “I, Panaply Dora, would like to extend to you an invitation to join me for a time. You will come to no harm.”

Beryl considered the request calmly, though a little surprised, “With the pirates?”  Pan nodded and another thought occurred to her. A low purr errupted as she added, “Then with Tepic and Cyan?”

“Yes,” the Gadgetier muttered invitingly.  There was the hint of triumph behind her gaze, perhaps a glint of amusement at how easily this had gone for her.  The pirate extended her hand.  Beryl took it and followed her to a waiting transport without hesitation.

It was a few knots out of the city before Beryl started to feel better, the cloud lifting slightly from the anti-toxin, and realized she had agreed to be a prisoner.

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